Higher Beings/Angels: Annie Kagan’s translations of Billy’s experience in the afterlife makes for a moving and uplifting book. Billy’s descriptions of the Higher Beings/Angels ring true for me. As an NDEr, I have struggled to translate the experience of coming in close contact with two of the most intelligent, large, amazing beings I have ever encountered. By default, I have called them angels, but Higher Beings seems an accurate term as well. I got the sense that other people might have different Higher Beings as their guides, but the qualities that my protective angels/Higher Beings exhibited most were intelligence, compassion, and healing powers. They healed me through the backs of my surgeons with their light, and I had complete faith in their healing abilities.
Perhaps at different times in our life, different angels and guides show up for us. In Kagan’s book, Billy describes the Higher Beings as, “Whatever qualities come under the heading of benevolence, that virtue is right there in the light. It’s different with these Higher Beings. They’re more specific, more personal, like the Divine Presence is focused through a prism. And the colored rays that come through the prism—these are the higher beings.” I resonate with that description because my Higher Beings were indeed specifically focused. Perhaps at different times in our lives we might require differently focused Higher Beings.
Toward the end of the book, Billy says, “There’s an impersonal quality to these Supreme Beings, but that’s not a negative—it’s a big plus. There’s a pureness to it. This is what I’ve imagined being in the presence of God would be like….They are pure Spirit. Just as our bodies are the carriers of our souls, our souls are the carriers of our Spirit.” For me, this description helps add clarity to my interactions with my angels during surgery. They were pure Spirit, pure benevolence, and put me at ease outside of my body immediately with telepathy and strength. I knew I would be fine whether I stayed in the environment outside of my body or returned. For me, all signs pointed to returning, but I got the sense that everything would have been beautiful, pleasant learning experience for me had I not returned.
Nature: One of my other favorite lines in this book is a simple but true message reading, “Nature has more light than anything else on your planet.” In the book, Kagan takes Billy’s advice and returns to nature for healing, inspiration, and connection. All of us need the healing power of nature in our lives. Technology is a powerful connector, but not healing in the way that being in nature is healing. When I am broken, I go to the mountains and let the mountains give me their strength. When I am stressed, I go to the ocean and let the waves wash away my pain and troubles. When I want fun, I head to nature.
At another point in the novel Billy says, “The best cure for suffering? An enlightened experience of it all. What does that mean? It means finding the invisible within the visible.” Nature is a great place for people to experience enlightened moments. Looking down from a high peak at a city helps us put everything in perspective again. We are a small part of the whole, but our enjoyment of our life is key. Nature keeps us present and helps us enjoy our lives more fully and even sometimes catch a glimpse of the invisible within the visible.
Addiction: (Spoiler Alert) Billy’s struggle with addiction and even his death as an active addict did not prevent him for any of the bliss, compassion, or benevolence on the other side. Life’s purpose and a particular soul’s purpose can be grand on the other side while looking rather shabby on this side. One of the more important lessons I took away from my NDE was that the shadows I danced within during that time in my life (the drugs and alcohol) only prevented me from living more fully and connected to others at times. I wasn’t judged by the light. I was met with deep compassion and love. Maybe if I would’ve stayed in the environment outside of my body longer, I might have seen how my life looked from a musical perspective—the ups and downs, the crescendos, and the drumrolls.
In recovery, people are sometimes shamed for relapsing, and there is so much disappointment around the deaths of addicts. As an NDEer, I sometimes have a different perspective and see the struggle for sobriety as more of a dance the way Billy described it. I see those who relapse as in need of more compassion and care, not less and definitely not condemnation. The other side greets us with compassion. Part of our lesson on this earth plane seems to be finding a way to take everything a little less seriously, to let go of resentments quickly, to forgive ourselves and others instantly. As Billy says, “…there is no one to forgive, because we signed up to do this dance together before we were born. We weren’t acting out some type of I-did-something-wrong-to-you-in-another-life-and-I’m-paying-for-it-now kind of thing. It doesn’t really work like that… It’s more a kind of experiment chosen for soul-type reasons that humans have an almost impossible time understanding. And not understanding is an important part of the experiment.”
If there is one criticism I have of the book, it is that there is not a lot of description of how the oneness occurs. During my NDE, I saw from the perspective of others in my life review. That part of the life review for most NDEers shows us where we have hurt and disappointed others, not as a form of punishment but as a way to fully understand our roles and the perspective of others. I know that there is much compassion on the other side, but the ways we harmed or hurt others is something worth noting in the life review process. The ways that we harm ourselves are only pitied, but in my experience the light seemed to wish that I could love myself more and open up to others more frequently. I appreciate the compassion and benevolence described and know this is correct. There is a bit of “relearning” about our roles that goes on outside the body. Mabye this could have been explained a bit more.
However, this is actually a minor detail. The book as a whole is a fantastic read. I loved it and highly recommend this beautiful, unusual, uplifting book.